Tech Nation has lost its Digital Growth Grant contract, according to reports over the weekend.
The Sunday Times reported that banking giant Barclays will now receive the grant through its Barclays Eagle Labs incubator, which it launched in 2015.
Initial reports suggested that Tech Nation would also lose its contract to administer the Digital Global Talent Visa, which helps tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, to Barclays, although this does not now appear to be the case. Tech Nation has said it is unable to confirm either report. Gerard Grech, CEO, said that “DCMS is responsible to communicate any outcome.”
Tech nation was created in 2018 following the merger of Tech North and East London’s Tech City. It supports Northern tech businesses through three distinct regional operations for the North West, North East and Yorkshire and has so far supported over 4,000 UK tech companies, working with over 30 per cent of the UK’s 122 tech unicorns and 44 per cent of the UK’s decacorns.
The government had put the contract out to tender earlier this year amidst concerns over Tech Nation breaching state aid rules as it has so far failed to become self-sufficient, relying heavily on government investment.
Tech Nation’s existing funding will run until March 2023, and its most recent annual report claimed the company would remain a going concern, and would continue to support the tech ecosysytem, if it lost the then-out-to-tender contract.